No Good Choice

Is anyone else having decision fatigue? Anyone else’s anxiety increasing as the school year looms ever closer, and we wait for decisions to be made? Anyone totally unsure about what the right choice is for school, if we are given the choice? Anyone change their mind on a daily basis? Anyone else feeling like this?:

There are some facts about this pandemic that are black and white…wash your hands, wear a mask, social distance, stay home as much as possible, avoid large gatherings of people. But the exhausting part is there is SO. MUCH. GREY. So much is unknown still about this virus and information changes every day. And we realize now we’re in this for the long haul, and we can’t just stay locked down in our houses for the next year. We have to learn how to live with it, while also protecting our family. As parents, we need to protect them from the virus…but we also see the emotional and psychological effect that this pandemic has had on our kids. We want to give them some version of normal after months of so much disappointment and loss. Parenting has always been hard. There’s no guide book; there’s not always a right answer. But this pandemic has created a whole new level of Hard. The ever-changing landscape of the virus creates so much uncertainty and doubt about whether we are making the right decision.

An article I read last week really hit home for me, entitled “Pandemic Parenting:When There is No Good Choice.” It’s SO true. That’s how I felt most days during the difficult weeks of making a decision about camp.

There is a global pandemic, and there is no way we should open camp and risk kids getting sick.

We shouldn’t open camp.

But kids’ mental health has suffered and they need camp more than ever.

We should open camp.

It really does feel like there is no good choice sometimes through all of this. All we can do as parents is make the decisions that are best for our family with the information we have in front of us. And be there to support each other through the hard parts, rather than judging each other for our decisions. So for all of you parents struggling to make all the hard decisions forced upon us by this virus…we see you. And we’re right there with you.

Below is the original article referenced above.

We frequently talk with our kids about making good choices. Evaluate the pros and cons, and make the good choice. But what if there isn’t one? What if all the choices just suck? Welcome to pandemic parenting.

Right now, it’s schools. I could send my kids to school for the sake of their mental health. I could keep them home to do virtual school for the sake of their physical health. If I send them to school, I get to have my job. I get my alone time back and my mental health. If I keep them home, we can still see our grandparents. I can reduce their exposure and, therefore, my anxiety. If I send them to school, we get to keep our community and whatever is left of the school activities we love. If they stay home, we are minimizing the effect on our family when schools are inevitably closed for weeks due to an exposure.

There is no good choice.

But it feels like this plays out in everything I do. My mind is flooded with options, and at the end of the list, there is no winner.

If I get a babysitter for a few hours, I can catch up on what is left of my job. If I get a babysitter, I can’t guarantee she isn’t exposing our family.

There is no good choice.

If I make the trip to Costco, I am adding another possible point of exposure. If I order Costco through Instacart, I am paying so much more for the same items.

There is no good choice.

If I let him go to the class birthday party, I am adding more risk of exposure. If I don’t let him go to the party, he misses out on quality time with new friends yet again.

There is no good choice.

If we take a planned beach vacation with safety precautions including masks and extreme distancing, we get to make memories during a season of endless disappointments. But then we have to quarantine for 14 days when we return and stay isolated from our friends.

There is no good choice.

If I keep all of our regular dentist, doctor, and therapy appointments, we are keeping up on important aspects of our health. But, we’re also adding more points of exposure.

There is no good choice.

If we play at the park, we get some much needed play time outside of our house. If we play at the playground and some kid gets too close, is it worth the risk?

There is no good choice.

COVID-19 has stripped me of my confidence as a parent. I question every decision, every potential risk and then sit with the guilt of the choice I made, wondering if the next 14 days will make me regret it. We are being asked to be socially responsible and community-focused, while still protecting our own kids’ physical and mental health. And don’t forget about your marriage. Oh, and take care of yourself, too.

All choices come with benefits and risks. But during pandemic parenting, the risks could mean a breakdown in mental health, serious financial consequences, or exposure to a virus that has killed more than half a million people worldwide.

We’re told to make the best decision for our family.

But what if there is no good choice?

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